Did they hurt you? Did they shove or punch you?”
In abusive relationship situations, the first concern most people have is if there was physical abuse.
What they don’t realize is that emotional abuse can also have devastating consequences – anxiety, depression, and even suicide!
The misconception that emotional abuse isn’t “that big of a deal” can leave a victim feeling like they are possibly overreacting, encouraging them to stay and suffer in a abusive relationship.
Whether the relationship is with a partner, spouse, or family member, it needs to be addressed!
Below are 9 emotional abuse tactics to watch out for if you believe you (or someone else) is in an emotionally abusive relationship.
1.) CONSTANT GUILT-TRIPPING
Guilt-tripping can leave someone in the unhealthy position of never feeling like they are doing ENOUGH.
Do you constantly feel like everything is your fault? Do you feel guilty for wanting to do things “your way”?
A key sign that you are being guilt-tripped is if you are always hesitant to say, “No” to someone because of how they will make you feel.
The reason abusive people use this tactic is because it is a very successful way to gain dominance over people.
2.) COMPARING YOU TO OTHER PEOPLE
Do you ever find yourself being compared to someone else – a past partner, friend, family member, or person on social media?
Comparison is a very hurtful form of emotional abuse because it makes you feel like you aren’t only NOT good enough, but that someone else is also BETTER than you.
Comparison makes you feel like you have to change who you are to make someone happy.
YOU aren’t good enough to hit the mark that someone else has already hit.
This form of emotional abuse is cruel and manipulative.
Related Article: 9 Signs He is Trying to Change You
3.) WITHHOLDING AFFECTION
Ignoring you, giving you the Silent Treatment, or giving excess attention to someone else.
Because you did something they didn’t like, an emotionally abusive person will punish you by withholding their affection from you.
A parent may treat another child better than you. A spouse may ignore everything you say – like you don’t exist.
The goal of this tactic is to leave you feeling lonely, unloved, and regretful.
In the end, you are suppose to be the one to come crawling back and apologize for what “you did wrong”.
4.) USING “BUT” STATEMENTS
“You look very nice today. But…”
“I appreciate your effort to help. But…”
“I’m so happy for your accomplishment. But…”
These “but” statements are huge indicators that you have a relationship with an emotionally abusive person.
Their ability to be critical about everything you say and do is absolutely toxic!
A compliment, followed by a “but” statement is NOT a compliment at all. The purpose of it is to make you feel like you are never good enough.
If you allow this behavior into your life, your sense of self-worth will start to diminish – exactly what they want!
5.) TAKING CREDIT FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
“You did such a good job! I taught you how to do that, you know!”
“Congrats on all your recent success. You wouldn’t be where you are without me.”
“If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be who you are today.”
Some people wouldn’t consider this emotional abuse, but this behavior is another subtle way to make someone into a dependent victim!
Taking credit for someone else’s accomplishments puts that person in the position of constantly having to act grateful. But more importantly, it makes them feel GUILTY if they ever decide to distance themselves from the toxic behavior.
It is a skilled manipulation tactic that breeds insecurity and dependency – two things toxic and controlling people love.
6.) RANDOMLY SHOWERING YOU WITH AFFECTION
…words of affirmation, gifts, tokens of appreciation, bragging about you in public, loving posts on social media, etc.
There is no such things as “no strings attached” when it comes to toxic people! There is ALWAYS an underlying reason why they treat someone nicely.
They use gifts as a way to show you how much they love you. Or as an empty apology for how horribly they treated you. Or even as a way to remind you of how deprived you would be if you chose to distance yourself from them.
Your self-worth is more valuable than a gift! A gift, tinged with emotional abuse, should never buy your affection or loyalty!
Related Article: 7 Types Of Toxic People That Will Ruin Your Life
7.) PLAYING THE VICTIM
Victimization is a classic abuse tactic!
If a toxic person gets caught in their own web of lies or they feel backed into a corner, they will immediately make themselves look like an innocent victim.
This is done by projecting an image of grief, disappointment, pain, loneliness, sickness, shock, and the list goes on.
Welcome to their self-inflicted pity party!
And guess who’s fault it is? YOURS!
The fault is never their own. It is always because of your selfishness, thoughtlessness, and dishonesty.
They, on the other hand, have always been loving, kind, generous, and selfless!
8.) USING SARCASTIC MOCKERY
Sarcasm is a favorite abuse tactic because it can easily be masked as a joke.
If you get upset at something cruel and hurtful that was said, they are quick to turn it around on you.
“I was just kidding!”
“Geez, someone is sensitive!”
“You need to learn how to take a joke!”
In reality, they know exactly what they said and they wanted you to understand the “intended message”.
Gaslighting is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse because it makes you question your own memory, feelings, and even sanity!
This tactic uses denial and shifting the blame as their main sources of toxic manipulation.
“I never said or did that!”
“You are so sensitive. You overreact to everything I say!”
“You have an awful memory. There you go making things up again!”
The goal is to make the victim doubt their own perception – like a mind game!
Most people prioritize honesty in their lives. When blamed for lying or twisting the facts, it makes a good person stop and think, “Wait, did that really happen? Is it me and not them?”
Once you start thinking this way, the emotional abuse is paying off nicely for the abuser!
- 7 Types Of Toxic People That Will Ruin Your Life
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